Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky.
I reminded the rabbit that he and I, along with tens of thousands of others, had been at the Flower Show in Philly less than a month ago. Even the most ignorant tulip watchers knew the coronavirus was coming, but hardly anyone at the event seemed worried. It was too hard to believe, in such a balmy setting, that a plague would soon “crash down on our heads from a blue sky.”
“Enough Camus,” he said, stretching out in a beach chair on my porch. “I don’t need no more existential dread. I’m depressed enough as it is.”
He was playing devil’s advocate, like last week. Or maybe he wasn’t.
“Camus believed in courage, not dread,” I replied. “He believed in fighting the good fight, even though the deck is stacked against you.”
Swamp Rabbit laughed. “It’s easy to feel courageous if you got groceries and the Internet and checks in the mail. It’s peeps like us who ain’t got no dough who feel the dread.”
I fetched a rusty milk crate and sat down six feet from him. “This is tough on everybody, rabbit, even those with money. People like privacy, but they also like to go to ball games and flower shows, and to their hair cutter and so on. They don’t like sheltering in place. They don’t like too much isolation.”
“Peeps don’t like forced isolation,” he said. “They like having a choice. The thing is, there ain’t never no choice if you got no money… Is my six-pack of beer still here?”
He was trying my patience. “Virus deaths are spiking in Europe,” I said. “The worst is yet to come over here. Trump has stopped saying the virus is a hoax and started calling it the invisible enemy. He wants his base to think it was planted by the Democrats and the Chinese.”
The rabbit sat up, angry. “Trump’s gonna do what he always does — blame other peeps for problems he’s too dumb to deal with. F–k Trump. He oughta be quarantined in some dungeon somewhere.”
“That’s better,” I said. “Anger will keep your spirits up, rabbit. We’ve got to grapple with the new realities, the opposite of what Trump’s doing.”
He slumped back into the beach chair. “You go right ahead and grapple with them realities, Odd Man. Where’s my beer?”